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t eanc 0 VOL. 38, NO. 50


Friday, December 23, 1994



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Southeastern Massachusetts' Largest Weekly


SlJ Per Year

The Christmas message of Bishop Sean My brothers and sisters in Christ, In this year dt:~dicated to the family, our hearts and minds return to that one solitary night when God embraced our humanity and was born of the Virgin Mary into ((the sanctu' ary of life," the human family. What a resounding statement of affirmation for family life! In gathering as a family of faith to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus, we dedicate ourselves anew to the Prince of Peace. It is reassuring to know that, in spite of the numerous obstacles to family life within our society, many are striving to embrace the sacred value of family life. This indeed is a reason to have hope. The Christmas season often brings together families which have been fragmented for one reason or another. Christmas is a time for giving and forgiving. Let Christ be born again in us! Let Christ bring His love to us! Let Christ heal our brokenness and rebuild our families! Through the m.ystery of the Incarnation, Christ has become one with us; and the mystery of God's love continues as Christ makes His home with us. It is my prayer that God, uwho so . loved the world that He sent His only Son," might find a place of welcome in your homes and in your hearts this season so that His peace may be yours. A blessed Christmas to you and your families.

Devotedly yours in Christ,

A:. /.' IJl/lh ";.p /-'- .rU'11,,:~J"I( -'/ IJ Bishop of Fall River



First-ever papal message to children

Pope asks world's children to pray for suffering brothers and sisters J.. 411


Dear children, I .can almost see you: you are settlOg up the crib at home in the parish, in every corner of the'world recreating the surroundings and the atmosphere in which the Savior was born. At Christmas time, the stable ~nd the manger take center place 10 the church and everyone hurries to go. there, like the shepherds on the mght of Jesus' birth. Y?U too, during the days of Chnstmas, visit the cribs, stopping to look at the child lying in the hay. You look at his mother and you look at St. Joseph. As you _ look at the Holy Family, you think of your mother, who gave you birth, and of your father. Both of them provide for the family and for your upbringing. De~r c~ildren, as I write to you-I am thlOklOg of when I was a child like you. I too used to experience the peaceful feelings of Christmas and I would hurry to the crib with the o~her boys and girls to relive < wh~t_~aiJ~e!led 2.000.years ago in PalestIne. The days which follow the birth of Jesus are also feast days: eight days afterward, according to the Old Testament tradition, the child was given a name: he was called Jesus; and after 40 days, we commemorate his presentation in the Temple, like every other first-born -son of Israel. [But] very soon the baby Jesus faces a grave danger: cruel king Herod will order all children under the age of 2 years to be killed, and for this reason Jesus will flee with his parents into Egypt. friends! In what happened %@hl%ai to Dear the child- of Bethlehem you can recognize what happens to children throughout the world. In our days, unfortunately, many children in different parts of the world are hungry.and poor, they are dying from diseases and malnutrition they are the victims of war, the; suffer many forms of violence and arrogance from grown-ups. Jesus Brings the Truth The child whom we see -in the manger at Christmas grew up and when he was 12, he went for the first time with Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover. There, in the crowds of pilgrims, he was separated from his parents and, with other boys and girls of his own age, stopped to listen to the teachers in the Temple, for a sort of catechism lesson. The holidays were good opportunities for handing on the faith to children who were about the same age as Jesus. - But o.n this occasion it happened that thiS extraordinary boy who


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In what is believed the first papal message illl history directed to the world's children, Pope John Paul II has asked them to pray that the "unspeakable suffering" being experienced by so many boys and girls in troubled nations be eased. Excerpts from his 3,600word letter, transmitted by Catholic News Service, follow.



had come from Nazareth not only asked very intelligent questions but also gave profound answers to the teachers. The questions and even more the answers astonished the Temple teachers. The 12-year-old Jesus became ~o interested in the religion lesson 10 the Temple that, in a sense, he even forgot about his parents. But Mary and Joseph, [realizing] that Jesus was not with them, went back to Jerusalem and only on the third day did they find him in the Temple. "Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have be.en I?oking for you anxiously," said hiS mother. How strange is Jesus' answer and how it makes us stop and think! "How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" That was an answer difficult to accept; in fact, it would be understood only later, when Jesus as a grown-up', began to preach' and say that for his heavenly Father he was ready to face any sufferings, even death on the cross. Dear children, in the child whom you look at in the crib you must try to see also the 12-year-old boy in th.e Temple in Jerusalem, talking with the teachers. He is the same grown man who later, at 30 years old, will begin to preach the word of. God. He will give sight to the blind, heal the sick, even raise the dead. And' among the-dead will- be the 12-year-old daughter of Jairus, and the son of the widow ofNaim given back alive to his weepin~ mother. ~his child, now just born, once he IS grown up will show an extraordinary love for children. He will say to the Apostles: "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them," and he will add: "for to such belongs the kingdom ofGod" (Mk. 10: 14). Another time, as the Apostles are arguing about who is the greatest, he will put a child in front of them and say: "U nless you tu.rn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven" (Mt. 18:3). What does [that] mean? Is not Jesus pointing to children as models even for grown-ups? People who are destined to go to heaven are simple like children. Is. not this the main message of ChrIStmas? We read in St. John: "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us" (In. 1:14); and again: "To all who received him who believed in his name, he gay; power to bt;come children of God" (J n. I: 12). Children of God! Here

THAT THE POPE loves children is obvious from these photographs of him with youngsters in Mexico, Vatican City, Uganda, Madagascar, Philippines, Brazil, Eng-' land, the U.S. and Poland. (CNS photos, top to bottom, columns I and 5)

we have the real reason for Christmas joy. Jesus Gives Himself Dear friends, there is no doubt that an unforgettable meeting with Jesus is first holy Communion, a day to be remembered as one of life's most beautiful. In this sacrament, the Lord becomes food for the soul under the appearances of bread and wine. Children receive t~is sac.rament solemnly a first time - 10 first holy Communion. . _Every boy and every girl belongIng to a Catholic family knows all about this custom: first holy Com~union is a great family celebratIOn. For how many children in the history of the church has the Eucharist been a source of spiritual strength, sometimes even heroic strength! How can we fail to be reminded, for example, of holy boys and girls who lived in the first centuries and are still known and venerated throughout the church? St. Agnes, who lived in Rome; St. ~gatha, who was martyred in SicIly; St. Tar~isius, a boy who preferred to die rather than give up Jesus, whom he was carrying under the appearance of bread. And .he~e I come to an important POInt 10 this letter: it is to your prayers that I .want to entrust the problems of your own families and of all the families in the world. I .al~o have other intentions to ask you to pray for. At the beginning of this letter I mentioned the unspeakable suffering which many children have experienced in this century, and which many of them are continuing to e?d~re. How many of them are ':Ictims of the hatred which is rag~ng in different parts of the world: In the Bal~ans, for example, and in some Afncan countries. It was while I was thinking about these facts that I decided to ask you, dear boys and girls, to take upon yourselves the duty of praying for peace. Praise the Name of the Lord! At the end of this letter, let me recal~-the words of a psalm: "Praise, a children of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord! Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and for evermore!" People praise. God by following the vOice of their own calling. He calls people to live in marriage or to be priests; he calls them to the consecrated life or perhaps to work on the. missions... Pray, dear boys and girls, that you will find out w~at your calling is, and that you L. - .' Will then follow it generously. <!O? loves you, dear children! ThiS IS what I want to tell you at the end of the ~ ear of the Family and on the occasIOn of these Christmas feast days, which in a special way are your feast days. I hope that during them you will have a more intense experience of the love of your family. This love must then spread to your whole community [and] will then be able to reach those who are most in need of it.







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Christmas Photo Feature

BISHOP SEAN will celebrate the Mass of Christmas at 4 p.m. Christmas Eve at St. Mary's Church, New Bedford. The Mass will J:>e telecast on WLNE Channel 6 from II :35 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Christmas Eve and Day and from 8 to 9 a.m. Christmas Day.

Below we begin a Christmas feature which runs throughout this issue. All photos with this border are part ofthe feature and should be read consecutive/yo

We halve seen his star, and are come to adore him


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Papal honors to be conferred Bishop Sean O'Malley will be celebrant of a vespers ~e.rvice at 5 p. m. Dec. 28 at St. Mary's Cathedral, at which he will formally present diplomas conferring papal honors on three pri:ests of the Fall River diocese. The rank of Protonotary Apostolic has been conferred upon Msgr. HenryT. Munroe and Msgr. John J. Oliveira; Very Rev. George'

Coleman ·receives .the rank of Domestic Prelate, Tl).eranks ate honorary,' dating back to the early church. Protonotaries form one of the chief colleges of prelates of the Roman Curia. A Domestic Prelate is an honorary member of the papal household. Vespers, the evening prayer of the church, is part of the Liturgy of the Hours prayed every day by priests, deacons and religious. •• ' ~


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A Joyful Christmas Season and A Blessed New Year

To All ~ From the Parish Family of St. Francis of Assisi

Come, 0 long-expected Jesus; excite in us wonder at the wisdom and power of your Father and ours. Come', 0 long-expected Jesus; excite in us a hunger for peace: peace in the world, peace in our homes, peace within ourselves. Come, 0 long-expected Jesus; excite in us a joy responsive to our Father's joy. ~ome, ,0 long-expected Jesus; excite in us the joy, love; and peace with which it is' right ·to come to the manger of our Lord. Raise in us, too, sober reverence for the God who acted there, a hearty gratitude for the life begun there, and spirited resolution to serve.

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Mill and Newton Sts. New Bedford, MA

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The Friends of Poland of New Bedford, Inc. thank the students of Bi~~9P.F~eh.a~ High Scho'ol ~nd·Bishop Stang HighSchoolfor over2,OOO good usedsweaters they donated to needy students in WarsaV\, and Krakow. ~



Christmas Prayer

Do you not know? Have you not heard? it not foretold you from the beginning?

Diocese of Fall River- Fri., Dec. 23,1994

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Richard 1'. Saunders Trustee ~


Boze Narodzenie 1994 - StoIat!!












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THE ANCHOR - 'Diocese of Fall River -'Fri., Oec.-23, 1994

themoorin~ Tradition! Tradition is by definition the handing down of information, beliefs and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another. This cultural continuity in social attitudes and institutions should be viewed as a precious part of o'ur lives. Yet American society has a rather negative attitude toward tradition. Long-established practices are not considered important by many of the so-called avant-garde. In fact, in order to climb the social ladder in this country, it seems one must shed any customs that smack of the foreign. This is the mind-set that demands that all who come to America must assimilate and conform to a fictional standard of uniformity. In the process, too many have lost too much. In the drive to rid themselves of "foreign trappings," they have surrendered their identity, their culture and eventually their true selves. Christmas is a wonderful time to remind ourselves that traditions and customs add a great deal to life. In this season of sentiment and remembrance, we are given the opportunity to recall our roots. Indeed, our celebration involves a m€:langeof accumulated ethnic customs and traditions. The Christmas tree, the yule log, the creche, the holly, the candles, all were immigrant practices that have beconiie part of the American celebration of the Christmas season. These customs and many more strengthened bonds among those far from their native lands. They provided an anchorage and a sense of security among people displaced by war, poverty or persecution. It's a shame that so many, in an attempt to be accepted by the narrowminded arbiters of our social order, simply abandoned their roots and threw out the baby with the proverbial bathwater. Is it really any wonder that we have become a dysfunctional nation? Families are shattered, children are abused and vio-


Thus saith the Lord: ttThe heavens are my throne, the earth is my footstool. What kind of house can you build for me; what is to be my resting place?" Is. 66: 1

Without Mary, we'd have no Christmas

herself early in her pregnancy when she proceeded in haste through the hill country of Judah to seek out her cousin Elizabeth in the days just before Elizabethgave birth to John lence is·l,lDControUed. .,. ,.:'~>"">"" < ,~- ',... ~. " ,,: .... ,,: . ,.~~th:~I~~~~~:V~~~~r~~h~~A~~~~~ the. Bap.tist..:r:~e .story of the 'VisThe traditions thaH>nce ITlade'alioilse~ahome.are a' matter' ·cjation., reveals 'a 'Mary who :-is ..itationjs a,~yml;)01 {)ffailh: wha,t is of scorn; religion is subject to ridicule; and la ws are en~cted to deeply troubled until'the Angel impossible for human beings is possible for God. punish immigrants. If there were ever a time to renew" support Gabriel assures her that she has In visitations and in service to and encourage the customs unique to each cultural group in nothing to fear and gives her as a sign the fact that her kinswoman, people, God becomes present and America, it should be this Christmas season. Elizabeth, advanced in age and brings salvation. This is a source We should not be ashamed of our roots or let others dictate thought to be sterile, is now in her of joy for Christians. Believers are our· mores. Each of us by word and deed lias been given a sixth month of pregnancy. Mary's people of the future and despite crisies and present situations that glimpse into our heritage by the generations preceding us. Let crisis of doubt ends with the sure seem to have no solution, Chrisknowledge that nothing is impos- tians continue to hope, However, us make these gifts come alive by way of retelling a family sible for God. story, cooking special holiday foods or encouraging cultural Crisis is an overused word that .they. do not hope and do nothing, has invaded all areas' of human but, trusting like Mary that nothing signs or symbols in the home. The gift of Christmas is more than some commercially experience. How often do we hear is impossible for God, they set out to serve others. manufactured present. It is the precious gift of self, which is about a crisis of values, a crisis in best nurtured and developed in the setting of a family unemthe Church, a crisis in society? But crisis, coming from the barrassed by its origins. If you have sublimated your heritage Greek word krisis, does not have and buried your traditions, make a real effort this Chri.stmas to such a menacing meaning at its shake offthe conventions that chain you and return to customs roots. Literally, it means a turning that you may have been ignoring. point. The turning point in the hisMake this season a new beginning in your understanding of tory of salvation was when Mary said "yes" to doing God's will. self and your heritage. If you can do this, you will be well- That turning point happens in the equipped to live in harmony and peace with newcomers to this. life of every authentic believer land. You will make America a better place when you truly when he or she asks "What does accept who you are, where you are from and the gifts and God expect from me?" customs you or your forebears brought to this nation of Mary asked that question of immigrants. The Editor There is another important lesson that is taught by the visitation of Mary to Elizabeth. The dignity of unborn human life is affirmed when Elizabeth tells Mary that at the very moment she heard her Most of our usual colgreeting the baby leapt in her umns will not appear this womb for joy. These words would OFFICIAL NEWSPAPER OF THE DIOCESE OF FALL RIVER week, due to our Christrecall to any pious Jew the days Published weekly by The Cath~lic Press of the Diocese of Fall River when David danced for joy around mas features. All will rethe Ark of the Covenant. 887 Highland Avenue P.O. BOX 7 turn in our next issue Now John the Baptist leaps for Fall River, MA 02720 Fall River. MA 02722-0007 which, in keeping with joy around the Ark of the New Telephone 508-675-7151 Covenant. The preface for the last our 50-week publishing FAX (508) 675-7048 Sunday of Advent says it most Send address changes to P.O. Box 7 or call telephone number above schedule, will be dated eloquently: "The virgin .mother Jan. 6, 1995. bore him in her womb with a love beyond telling. John the Baptist EDITOR GENERAL MANAGER was his. herald and made him Rev. John F. Moore Rosemary Dussault ~ Leary Press-Fall RIver' known when at last he came," .. As. Christmas approaches and By Father Kevin J. Harrington Advent and Christmas are rich seasons for Christian contemplation, an invitation to seek inspira-



the pre-Christmas rush is behind us, we are urged to become like children, to open our eyes, to appreciate and enjoy all we have. Just as the angel Gabriel gave Mary the sign of Elizabeth's pregnl!ncy to, help her understand that tIle power of the Holy Spirit would overshadow her and that she would be the virgin 'mother of the Messiah, the angels give the shepherds some signs by which they will recognize the savior. Bereft of everything our society values, Christ was born in a stable. But he had his mother's gentle presence at the cradle at Bethlehem and her faithful presence at the foot of Calvary's cross. The journey of Mary through joy and sorrow is the pilgrimage that all God's faithful people are asked to walk. Left to our own resources, we would all be found wanting. This is why we constantly need reminding that nothing is impossible for God. How many times have people who love us ave known instinctively what we needed at Christmas and have surprised us by giving it to us? This world of ours desperately needed a savior. Every Christmas we should be grateful to God for sending us that savior but also to Mary for saying "yes" to God's will. It is always Mary who intro-

duces God into the world. A woman of our race, our sister, gives the world the only thing that can save it. Mary carries out the mission of the church, which is to allow God to be born in the heart of the believer. Merry Christmas, dear reader!

Keeping Christmas If you're Willing to believe that love is the most important thing in life, stronger than hate, stronger than evil, stronger than injury ... than death, snd that Christ born in Bethlehem, over nineteen hundred years ago, is the Savior of us all, then you are keeping Christmas as Christ would want you to.

Gifts (?) of the magi (?) Q. Scripture tells us that shortly after Jesus was born he was visited by three wise men (kings?) from the East, bearinl: gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. It stands to reason that these three men, having traveled a long way to pay homage to a king, would not present token gifts, but gifts of substantial value. Does tradition, rumor or legend give any clue as to what the Holy

By FATHER JOHN DIETZEN Family did with this newfound wealth? I realize this is not a major matter of faith, but it has bugged me, and maybe others would be interested. (Indiana) A. Your question is considerably more interesting and significant than you might think. For a start, why do we think the magi (astrologers?) came "shortly after Jesus was born"? The Gospel says only that the event occurred after Jesus' birth, during the reign of King Herod. (Mt. 2: I) . Did they come. from the East? Matthew says only that "theY'saw his star at its rising." Nor are we told how many there were. Legend has come up with three, possibly because of the three gifts offered. These are a small sample of the reasons most scholars of Scripture see this passage of Matthew as an example of what in Jewish literature. is called."haggadic .11Jidrash," stories t{} spin out and clarify the meaning of a particular event or teaching. These stories were meant to develop an understanding of a mystery. They were not intended to be taken literally. Such writing was quite common among Jews as an effective teaching tool. In this understanding, the magi event would be a tale constructed

Daily Readings Dec. 26: Acts 6:8-10;7:5459; Ps 31:3-4,Ei-8,17-21; Mt 10:17-22 Dec. 27: 1 Jan 1:1-4; Ps 97:1-2,5-6,11-12; In 20:2-8 Dec. 28: 1 In 1:5-2:2; Ps 124:2-5,7-8; Mt 2:13-18 Dec. 29: 1 Jn 2:3-11; Ps 96:1-3,5-6; Lk :~:22-35 Dec. 30: Sir 3:2-6,12-14; Ps 128:1-5; Col 3:12-21; Lk .2:41-52 Dec. 31: 1 JIl 2:18-21; Ps 96:1-2,11-13; In 1:1-18 Jan. 1: Nm 6:22-27; Ps 67:2-3,5-6,8; Gal 4:4-7; Lk 2:16-21 Jan. 2: 1 In 2:22-28; Ps 98:1-4; In 1:19-28 Jan. 3: 1 In 2:29~3:6; Ps 98:1-3,6; In 1::Z9-34 Jan. 4: 1 In 3:7-10; Ps 98:1,7-9; In 1:35-42 Jan. 5: 1 In 3:11-21; Ps 100:1-5; In 1:43-51 Jan. 6: 1 In 5:5-13; Ps 147:12-15,19-2:0; Mk 1:7-11 Jan. 7: 1 JnI 5:14-21; Ps 149:1-6,9; In 2:1-11 Jan. 8: Is 60:1-6; Ps 72:12,7-8,10-13; Ellh 3:2-3a,5-6; Mt 2:1-12 "



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by some early commumtles of Christian believers and placed in the Gospel of Matthew to illustrate a Christian awareness that Christ had come as savior for all people, not only for Jews. As I said, this interpretation, or some variation of it, is commonly accepted today, and is supported by numerous Old Testament allusions and theological connections in the story of the three kings. As for the money, it has been suggested that Joseph and Mary saved it for Jesus' bar mitzvah. As you say, the story just doesn't hang together with what we know of the obscure, simple life of the Holy Family. That's one more reason for seeing the magi story as something other than straight historical reporting. In fact, this remarkable Gospel story becomes more profound, and spiritually much richer, when we


open up the meanings that lie beneath the obvious literal explanation. A free brochure answering questions Catholics ask about baptism practices and baptismal sponsors

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.,' Let justice descend, 0 heavens, like dew from above like gentle rain... Let the earth open and salvation bud forth. b




Fri., Dec. 23, 1994


is available by sending a stamped self-addressed envelope to Father John Dietzen, 704 N. Main St., U1oomington, III. 6170]. Questions for this column should be sent to Father Dietzen at the same address.




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Christmas in my heart When the song of the angel is Christmas begins: tofind the lost, stilled, when the star in the sky is to heal the broken, to feed the gone, when the kings and princes . hungry, to release the prisoner, to are home, when the shepherds are rebuild the nations, to bring peace back with their flock, the work of among brothers and sisters, to make music in heart.



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CHRISTMAS SCHEDULE Christmas Vigil Masses' . Saturday at 4:00 and 6:30 p.m. Midnight Mass preceded by a concert by St. Anne Chorale beginning at 11:30 p.m.' Christmas Day \ Masses at 8:00, 10:00, 12 noon and ~ 6:30p.m.•••~



ATTLEBORO AREA committee members for the annual Bishop's Charity Ball to be held Jan. 13 at the Venus de Milo, Swansea, are Mrs. Harry B. Loew, left, presentee committee; Mrs. John Spellman, president of the Attleboro District Council of Catholic Women~FatherJohn J. Steakem, pastor of St. Mary's parish, Norton, and Attleboro area Ball director; and John Drane, president of Attleboro District St. Vincentde Paul Society. (Gaudett'e photo)

The Parish Staff, residents ofSt. John Vianney House and the Dominican Fathers join in wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

A tree from ,Bethlehem By Antoinette Bosco

Saint Anne Parish and Shrine . .' . South Main andMU1dle~~ir.eets,:: .,": . Fall Ri,ver, Massachusetts


Experience all the delights that this holiday brings. You 've been a delight to know and serve. Thanks, friends.

MBA, ,"C.


LANDSCAPE SERVICE 276 Meridian St. • Fall River



Every December the Benedictine nuns of the Abbey of Regina .Laudis in Bethlehem, Conn., cut'a

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. their farmlands to be sold for Christmas. I had never purchased one there because I live nearly an hour a way and never believed I could cart one home with my little Honda Civic. But that's in the past now, thanks to Mother Stephen. This year as I viewed the gorgeous, fresh, big trees - and I love big Christmas trees - I said a little prayer that was more like a wish: "I wish, dear Jesus, that you'd help me find a way to get one of these to my house." And just then 1 saw Mother Stephen walking up the path. Everybody should have the joy of knowing this incredible woman. Born and raised on a Minnesota farm, one of six children (three of whom entered religious life), she joineq Regina Laudis in 1953. Then about seven years old, the abbey "was exceedingly poor, just starting out. 1 felt the genuineness of the poverty, and that spoke to my soul," she told me. The difficult hands-on labor she did in the next 40 years for the self-supporting abbey earned her a reputation as the "nun-farmer" who works miracles with the land. Well, here she was coming toward me with her glorious smile. 1 didn't have to tell her what I was hoping for. "You want the tree - on your car?" she asked. "Piece of cake!" Next thing I knew, here we were, hoisting that beautiful tree from its place on the land to the top of my little car. Mother Stephen got some rope and, in expert moves, started tying, the tree. When she got flat down on the ground, habit and all, securing the rope under my car, my big regret was that I didn't have a camera.

"There," she said, smiling at my apology for being so useless. "Can I really drive all the way to Brookfield like that?" I asked .... It :W9n't, fll.llpffT~ .. , ' " , '" . . -""Take:':mY",word"'~ she ·assured·· me. . 1joked that she had given me a new definition offaith:"If Mother Stephen says so, it must be true!" I already knew that when Mother Stephen speaks, it's worth a listen, something I learned months earlier when I interviewed this incredible nun for a feature story. Never ha,d I met anyone so devoted to the . land, which, in the spirit of St. Benedict, sh'e 'cails' "sacred space." "You can dialogue and extol the land, but unless you taste it -taste the rain and the dust - you haven't got it. When you are this involved, it becomes your way of responding to God who put it there," Mother Stephen told me. "I remember all those sounds that went with the land, especially in the evening - the cicadas, the tree frogs. All those earth sounds I heard when I was young were a tremendous rhythm that paced the night. The earth experiences don't leave you. They make you. They nourish your soul," she added. When I look at my Christmas tree, I hear her words, and I wonder if the special way it sparkles this year has more to do with the love that nurtured it as it was growing than with the lights.

Dec. 24 1886, Rev. James K. Beaven, Pastor, Sacred Heart, Taunton 1914, Rev, Timothy J. Duff, Assistant, St. Joseph, Woods Hole Dec. 27 1956, Rev. Thomas J. Stapleton, Pastor, Corpus Christi, Sandwich 1970, Rev. Msgr. Armand Levasseur, Pastor Emeritus, St. Anne, New Bedford Dec. 28 1955, Rev. Charles R. Smith, Pastor, 1mmaculate Conception, Fall River 1987, Rev. Edward J. Sharpe, Pastor, St. Patrick, Somerset; Rev. Clement Paquet, O.P., Assistant, St. Anne, Fall River Dec. 30 1991, Rev. ThomasC Mayhew, Pastor, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Seekonk Jan. 1 1955, Rev. Jose Valeiro, Pastor, St. Elizabeth, Fall River 1956, Rev. Antonio M. Fortuna, Pastor, Immaculate Conception, New Bedford 1968, Rev. Francis R. Connerton, SS.STD., St. John's Seminary, Plymouth, Michigan 1975, Rev. LeoT. Sullivan, Pastor, Holy Name, New Bedford Jan. 4 1961, Rev. Eugene L. Dion, Pastor, Blessed Sacrament, Fall River Jan. 6 1906, Rev. James F. Roach, Founder, Immaculate Conception, Taunton

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The Creche Creche is a French word meaning"cradle, "It has been part ofthe Christmas tradition for over 750 years. The nativity scene was popularized as a Christmas custom by St. Francis of Assisi. who assembled a manger with live animals and people in 1224.

The desert and the parched land will exult The steppe will rejoice and bloom. Make straight in the wasteland a highway...



Willere was Jesus really born? JERUSALEM (CNS) - Jesus' birth in Bethlehem is not just a long-standing tradition but most likely historical fact, according to a Scripture scholar who helped develop the Jerusalem Bible. Dominican FatherJerome MurphyO'Connor, who resides in Jerusalem at Institute l'Ecole Biblique, commented on what he called an "extraordinary claim" that Jesus was actually born in Nazareth made by a New York priest, Father John Meier, in a soon-to-be-released book. "The freedom accorded by the church to any scholar who wants to go out on such a limb is in part rooted in her conviction that there will be colleagues to cut it off. And this is precisely what I propose to do," said Father Murphy-O'Connor, who assists researchers from around the world in their scriptural studies. Father Meier, a professor at The Catholic University of America, made his claim about Jesus' birthplace in volume 2 of "A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus." "[Father] Meier's argument amounts to this: Jesus was known as Jesus of Nazareth. He lived there because it was the village of Mary and Joseph. The normal presumption, therefore, is that he

was born there," Father MurphyO'Connor said. "How then does Bethlehem come into the picture?" he asked. "[Father] Meier has an answer: The disciples of Jesus eventually recognized that he was the Messiah. Micah 5: I which is quoted in Matthew 2:6, predicted that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Hence the Gospel writers had to locate his birth there. Luke said that Mary and Joseph came to Bethlehem because of a census, but "Matthew's solution was more radical," Father MurphyO'Connor said. "He made Mary and Joseph natives of Bethlehem. Only later did they go to Nazareth as refugees." But, according to Father MurphyO'Connor, "the fatal flaw in this reconstruction is [Father) Meier's failure to recognize that Jesus was not the sort of Messiah that his contemporaries expected from Bethlehem." "As the descendant of David," he said, "the Bethlehem Messiah would be a warrior king, who would free his people from the dominance of Rome, and who would impose justice and peace. This, of course, is precisely what Jesus was not. He had no political agenda, and his compassion for the poor and disadvantaged was individual, not national."





Father Murphy-O'Connor said that if the Gospel writers presented Jesus "as the Son of David, despite the difference between what he actually was and the traditional image, it can only be because they had no choice. Jesus was in fact born in Bethlehem, and the evangelists had to live with the false hopes [of a warrior king) that his birthplace engendered." A major difference remains between Matthew's Gospel, which says Mary and Joseph were natives of Bethlehem, and Luke's, which calls them natives of Nazareth, the priest noted .. "Scholars prefer Matthew's version because Luke's explanation of why a heavily pregnant woman undertook a weeklong journey to Bethlehem is implausible," he said. According to the Dominican scholar, Jesus was born in the family home of Joseph in Bethlehem. "There was no room for them in the inn," in chapter 2, verse 7 of Luke is better translated as "There was no space for them in the room," he said. "We have to imagine a poor one-room house cluttered with an extended family and visitors," he said. "For the birth, it was but common sense to move to a quiet area in the cave behind the house, which was used as a stable and storeroom." Father Murphy-O'Connor said the birth of Christ came in the final years of Herod the Great, who was ill and knew revolution was imminent. Herod "was not prepared to surrender power without a fight," he said. "It is certain that his secret police were keeping a very close watch on Bethlehem. According to Micah, it was the place from which a warrior king would come, a legitimate rival." Joseph, knowing that "Herod

Diocese of Fall River -

would have no scruples in wiping out the whole village if the humor took him, might have said to Mary, 'Let's take the baby and leave until that maniac dies,''' Father Murphy-o'Connor said. When Herod died about four

Fri., Dec. 23, 1994

years later, "Joseph's immediate thought would have been to return to Bethlehem," he said. "But when he heard who the successor was, he must have changed his mind. Arche[aus was as vicious as his father, but not half as intelligent."

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DECEMBER SAINTS: Jeanna Brunell is St. Lucia and Darren Hazeltene, Lauren Konrath and Kathleen Burke are candle bearers for a celebration of the Feast of St. Lucia at St. Mary-Sacred Heart School, North Attleboro. As part of a project researching December saints and Advent customs, students also celebrated St. Nicholas Day and performed the Mexican custom of Los Posadas, reenacting Mary and Joseph's search for shelter in Bethlehem. ~~-

.. '.. .. .. .. ..

~ ..


Here comes with power the Lord God

·~t.c. <~.~;~

~"••.~. " :.4 to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, recovery ofsight to the blind, and release to prisone:rs Upon his shoulder dominion rests His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, God the Mighty, Father of the World to Come





May your Christmas be filled with the joy of Christ's birth and blessed with the light ofHis love. The Officers & Employees of

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May the miracle of Christmas fill your heart with love -'STOP is what a lot of people do as they view the grounds of Holy Family rectory, East Taunton, where Father George F. Almeida has flying reindeer, altar servers, carolers, a little drummer boy and a wreath that makes one wonder how it got where it is. (Kearns photo)





from the staffof



Padua Parish

Rebecca Banville

Fall River



(J~ ~


6 pm



Russ Evans Marion Frizado vera,nica Galvao . Carl Gagnon ~' J1.. Henry Klel< • !fJ Julie Lemieux a Martha McGinn. Joann;ne Mao<e






11 :00 am·


Happy Holidays to All!



We remember everything Christmas has. meant to us over the years, and hope that you 'find the joy that this season brings.. . ,


Our many thanks to each and aU.,



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Author of angel books tells personal experience KANSAS CITY, Mo.(CNS)An Illinois Catholic woman's idea for her best-selling book on angels was inspired by an experience her son, Tim Anderson, and a friend had on a deserted road in an Indiana snowstorm. The two thought they wer~ going

to die on the road. It was Christmas Eve 1983. Snow was blowing around their car, frozen by a temperature of 32 below zero. Hundreds of miles away in il Chicago suburb, Joan Wester Anderson prayed. She had expected Tim to arrive from Connecticut by

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6 p.m. and it was after midnight. She feared that her son had continued the long drive, despite the storm. "I just kept saying over and over again, 'Oh, God please send someone,''' she said in an interview with The Catholic Key, newspaper of the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese. Suddenly, a tow truck appeared at Tim's stranded car, and towed the two young men to the safety of a friend's home. They went inside the house to borrow money to pay their rescuer, but when Tim came back outside, the tow truck had disappeared. The only tire tracks visible, were from his own car.

eNS photo

JOAN WESTER ANDERSON Mrs. Andt:rson believes an angel helped her son. Inspired by his experience, she wrote "Where Angels Walk," a collection of stories of people who believed they had angel encounters. "Was it an angel? Our family will never know for sure," she says in the book. "But on Christmas Eve in 1983, I heard the whisper of wings as a tow truck driver answered a heavenly summons and brought our son safely home." "Where Angels Walk" has topped 1.5 million in sales and been on The New York Time best-seller list for more than a year. "I figured a couple of nuns might buy it, my mother would buy it," she said in the interview, "but it was a book I just had to write." The author, who attends St. James Catholic Church in Arling-

ton Heights, III., has written two more books, "Where Miracles Happen" and "An Angel to Watch Over Me," a collection of children's stories of e'ncounters with angels. "Angels are God's creation come to guard us and protect us," she said. "Hopefully that realization will work its way into a lot of people who have felt very much alone and it will give them hope and confidence." _.Mrs. Anderson's writing career began in 1973 and includes freelancing for nearly eight years with such Catholic publications as Our Sunday Visitor, a national weekly paper, and Liguorian and Catholic Digest magazines. She said she was comfortable writing for the Catholic press, and when she branched out to secular magazines she still tried to slip principles and values into her articles. As for her angel books, she speaks with each person whose story she has heard to make sure the person is convinced he or'she had a supernatural experience. In her first book, she said, about 10 percent of the people sharing their experiences asked her to change their names because they said they had tried to tell others but were ridiculed. In one case, a young Southern Baptist boy ws publicly humiliated and verbally abused by his minister. In almost every case of angelic intervention, Mrs. Anderson noted, the beneficiary has been drawn closer to God. "That's what im angel encounter should do," she said. "Angels are m~ssengers;,they a,re not the message. If we stop with angels, we miss the whole point because angels come to bring us closer to God." She related the story of a man saved from drowning by an unseen presence. "I don't know why God saved me," the crying man told her, "but the rest of my life I'm going to be finding out." Some are skeptical about such stories and she admits the angel phenomenon has a New Age ring. .But she had decided from the outset that her take on the topic "has to be based in Scripture," she told The Catholic Voice, newspaper of the Omaha archdiocese.

They shall beat their swords into plough, shares He shall wipe every tear {rom their eyes, and thereshaIl , be no more death or mourn- • 0 ing, crying out or pain,



Chant release NEW YORK (CNS) - A Gregorian chant collection recorded in French abbeys and monasteries has been released by Atlantic Records on compact disc and cassette. "Eternal Chant: An Anthology of Classic Gregorian Chants The Vocal Music of the French Monks" was compiled from performances recorded by Studio SM, a French company which began preserving France's sacred musical treasures in the late 1940s at monasteries, convents and churches. The three-part set gives an overview of Gregorian chant, performed by monks' choirs, solo voices and lay choirs; focuses on chants for the Advent and Christmas seasons; and takes the listener through the course of a monk's typical day.

Christmas. Crib Blessing For a home blessing of a Christmas crib, the mother, father or other a~ult takes the part of the leader. For parish, school or other groups, a leader may be designated. Leader: As we gather to bless' our Christmas crib, let us be mindful of the goodness of God in com-' ing to us as a helpless infant whom no one could fear but whom every one can love. Children or other designated persons read: A reading from the Gospel of St. Luke: The shepherds said one to another: Let us go over to Bethlehem and let us see this word that is come to pass, which the Lord hath showed to us. And they came with haste; and they found Mary and Joseph and the infant lying in the manger. And seeing, they understood the word that had been spoken to .them concerning this child. And all that heard, wondered; and at those things that were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart.

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God, for all the things they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. Let us pray: Jesus, sweetest child, born in Bethlehem of the Virgin Mary, wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger, announced hy angels and visited by shepherds, have mercy on us. All: Have mercy on us'- Child Jesus, have mercy on us. Let us pray: Jesus, sweetest child, manifested by the leading of a star to the three Wise Men. worshiped in the arms of thy mother, presented with the mystic gifts of gold, frankincense. and myrrh, have mercy on us. Leader: Bless, we beseech thee, o Lord, our Christmas crib, converted by your presence into a royal throne.· May our souls also become your dwelling place and may we love and serve you in this life so that we may be worthy to enjoy you eternally in the life to come. . All: Amen.

• for the former world , has passed away. •

HOLIDAY WARNING • If you drink, don't drive. • If you drive, don't drink.

THE ANCHOR-Diocese of Fall River-Fri., Dec. 23, 1994

Iteering pO.intl FIRST FRIDAY CLUB Father Richard W. Beaulieu, pastor of Notre Dame parish, FR, and director of the Diocesan Department of Education, will speak at dinner meeting following 6 p.m. Mass Jan. 6, Sacred Heart Church, FR. Information: Paul A. Dumais, president, 673-7675. BISHOP STANG H.S., N. DARTMOUTH The gymnasium will be dedicated at 7:30 tonight to the late John C. O'Brien, a longtime teacher, coach and athletic director. Alumni basketball games will precede the dedication at 6 p.m. and afterward members of the O'Brien family will meet participants in the newly-decorated dining hall. ST. FRANCIS XAVIER, ACUSHNET A IS-minute Christmas music and light show will be presented at 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. Christmas vigil Masses and at 7 p.m. De'c. 26,27 and 28. ST. MARY, N. ATTLEBORO First Friday Adoration of Blessed Sacrament following 7 p.m. Mass Jan. 6 until 9 a.m. Mass Jan. 7; prayers at 9 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. Saturday. Information: Joan Provost, 699-2430. Healing service 2:30 p.m. Jan. 8. CATHEDRAL, FR Christmas Carol Sing 3 p.m. Dec. 26. HOLY TRINITY, W. HARWICH First Friday 24-hour exposition of Blessed Sacrament following 9 a.m. Mass Jan. (I until Benediction 8:15 a.m. Jan. 7, followed by morning prayer and Mass. D. of I., ATTLEI80RO Daughters of Isabella Alcazaba Circle 65 meeting 7 p. m. Jan. 5, K. of C. Hall, Hodges St. VINCENTIANS., TAUNTON Monthly Mass 7:30 p.m. Jan. 3, St. Joseph's, North Dighton; meeting will follow in parish center. SECULAR FRANCISCANS St. Francis of Peace Fraternity monthly Mass 2 p.m. Jan. 8. Holy Trinity Church. W. Harwich; Father Edward Healey will speak on "Today I Begin Again." Business meeting. refreshments follow. Rosary recited I :30 p.m. Information: Dorothy WilIiams. 394-4094.

A day off from work KATMANDU, Nepal(CNS)Though Christmas Day is not marked on the calendar of Hindu Nepal, the minority Christian community in the Himalayan mountain kingdom can take the day off work to celebrate.

A number of converts to Nepal's slowly growing Christian community will be celebrating Christmas for the first time. The country is estimated to have more than4,000 Catholics and more than 70,000 Christians of other denominations.

lI~mtmus!o~ttinm~~ An Irish Christmas' By Barbara Jencks Nodlaig Nait Cugat! That's Gaelic for Merry Christmas to You. Ireland, alone among the nations of the western world, still has an innocent and nonmaterialistic attitude towards Christmas. It is a holy day, a family day, first and foremost. The oldest tradition is the practice of placing candles in the window at dusk on Christmas Eve in every part of Ireland, in the grand city houses of Dublin and the simple farmhouses of the country. The candles, lit by the youngest member of the family, give a light to lead the way for Joseph and Mary. Scooped-out turnips are used in the farmhouses and grandly polished brass and sterling silver candlesticks in the homes of the prosperous. As' well as for Joseph and MarY,the candles'shine for other wanderers; strangers and the needy are welcomed, given a night's lodging and sent on their way with a bit of change jingling in their pockets. Another special Irish custom is the Christmas cake. Families save up for it, visits are made to village and city stores and the merits of

Propagation of the Faith

He shall stand firm and shepherd his flock His greatness shall reach the ends of the earth He shall be Peace


various cakes discussed, a down payment is placed on the chosen one and installments are paid weekly. Most people buy lavishly decorated cakes, flavored with the famous Irish whiskey, while others collect "the makings" of herbs and nuts and fruits for months and bake their own. I once spent the Christmas holidays in Dublin and was impressed with the contrasting emphasis. There were decorations but not the lavish displays we have in the United States. The emphasis was not on gift giving but on family gatherings. A community of Dominican sisters invited me to spend Christmas Eve at their convent on St. Stephen's Green and to join them for vespers and midnight Mass. The convent was a hostel for women students from all over the world attending nearby University Col'lege, Dublin; where I was at the time enrolled in Irish literature courses. After Mass, the sisters hosted a buffet supper and this American and students from Africa, France and Spain told of Christmas customs in their homelands. The warmth of Irish hospitality overcame any homesickness I might have felt, particularly since it was the first Christmas after my mother died and the land where our family home, the setting of all Christmas memories, had stood had been appropriated for construction of Interstate Highway 95. On Christmas Day I was the guest of a family which included a former Providence resident who tried to duplicate the all-American turkey dinner, with stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce and squash, items not part of the usual Irish Christmas menu. Later in the day I visited a home where the Christmas cake was served with a flourish. Roast beef and ham were also on the menu and the family reported that after early Mass they had all visited the cemetery to leave Christmas greens another Irish custom. Most of the large Dublin hotels have now been sold but at that time they were booked months in advance by prosperous families from outside the Dublin area and from other countries. They would come into the city for the festive hotel dinners, dances and decorations, all arranged to attract visitors in the tourist off-season. Even in the Six Counties, where violence was a daily occurrence as troops patrolled British-occupied territory, a kind of truce prevailed at Christmas time. Now there really may be "Peace on Earth" all year round!

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Imp'roving Christmas

By Dan Morris With the Christmas season fresh at hand, I am taking notes for change. Next fall I will pull them out in ample time to be able to improve on next Christmas. Even little things will help, like not thinking it's cute to ask your priest-cousin if Midnight Mass is going to be the same time as last year. I will certainly not go to the fridge for a beer during a game of cribbage with my brother-in-law when there i's something substantial at stake - like use of the remote during the bowl games. Addendum: Do not bet on a team that hasn't yet been caught by the NCAA for the way it recruits players. Do not show off by opening one of those pressurized quick-biscuit tubes by whopping it in the middle with a meat' tenderizer. Do not boast, "I can sing the second verse to' Away in a Manger' without prompting." . Start a little fire in the fireplace, then feed it wrapping paper and . ribbon. Do not stuff fireplace, then light. Better yet, put 'all wrapping leftovers in paper bags and cook Christmas dinner over the conflagration in the back yard (although this could cause flooding by stimulating an early thaw). Do not burn pieces of paper with tiny printing on them, most notably those labeled "instructions," "warranty" or "owner's Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his guide." hand Think twice before lying on belly, crawling under fully resplendent and weighed the mountains in scales Christmas tree'and ~'rotating"it so Before him 'all the nations are as I).ought th~ "flat spot" wili be again~t the window. Think of peanut brittle not as .. food, but as concrete begging for a tiff with pricey dental work. Remember that elevators crowded with unknown, possibly NorAMSTERDAM, Netherlands secular figure, but Sinterklaas is a dic, shoppers are not places to tell (CNS) - As Santa Claus prepares Catholic bishop, complete with Norwegian jokes. to do rounds on Christmas Eve, miter and staff. He resides in Spain, Know better than to tell your the Dutch have long since cele- somewhat closer to the home of . wife's sister's 9-year-old you'd love the historical St. Nicholas, who brated his annual visit to their was bishop of Myra in Turkey. to hear her play the piano. country. After anything more than one For in the Netherlands he brings And he arrives by steamboat and his gifts Dec. 5, the eve ofthe feast travels around the Netherlands on little glass of that hot spiced stuff Aunt Shirley brews, do not debate of St. Nicholas Dec. 6. But the a white horse. making the Epiphany a holy day Anglo-Saxon version of Santa has Good children receive presents, of obligation. been gaining popularity in the but naughty ones are bundled into Netherlands, and some fear he a sack and taken off to Spain. could even oust Sinterklaas, as he As children grow up they join in is known. an elaborate family celebration To many Dutch, the Anglo Santa Thefirst reference to thefeast of is an impostor undermining cher- involving an exchange of presents Christmas is found in the Roman ishered local customs and tradi- and the recitation of poems in Chronograph of 354 A.D., an alof the family poke which members tions. manac copied and illustrated by Although they share common fun at each other.

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Santa Claus vs. Sinterklaas

December 25

origins and a preference for red robes and white beards, the two Santas have distinct identities. The Anglo-Saxon Santa is a

Increasingly, however, Christmas is edging out Sinterklaas as the most important family holiday in the Netherlands.

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the Greek artist, Phi/ocalus. This document contains a rudimentary Christian calendar in the form of two sets of dates. At the head of the first set, for December 25, we find "Birth of Christ in Bethlehem of Judea." The date of December 25 was deliberately chosen at Rome sometime between 274 and 336 A.D. in order to counter the paganfeast of "Sollnvictus, "the Unconquerable Sun, a feast which was officially instituted in 274 A.D. by the Emperor Aurelian. From an anonymous treatise dating from the third or early fourth century, we read ..... now they call this day the Birthday of the Unconquerable!" Who indeed is so unconquerable as our Lord, who overthrew and conquered death? And as for talking about the birthday of the Sun! He is the Sun ofJustice! "

By Charlie Martin

SONG FOR SARAJEVO (I Dream of Peace) Blood In all the streets Running like a flood There's nowhere to hide Nowhere I can go I reach out my hand Touching death itself Just another holy day in Sarajevo I can hear my heart Poundinl: like a clock Hiding from the planes And from the bombing Fire from the sky Burning down my life There is no more love No more longing But when I close my eyes I dream of peace I dream of flowers on a hill I dream I see my mother smiling When I close my' eyes I dream of peace Once I had a home Once my life was good Once my mother sang to me And heidi me Then the fire came Falling fwm the sky There is no one left Who calli protect me War's a wicked bird That never comes to rest Feeding on all the dreams of children War's an evil bird Flying illl the dark Every holy promise Has been broken Can't you stop the war Bring it Ito a close You are tall and strong And I am just a child Can't we: live in peace, Stop the flowing blood Make a blessed world where I can be a child Written by Judy Collins and the children of the former Yug路oslavia. Sung by Judy Collins (c) 1994 by Wildflowers Records, Rocky Mountain National Park Music Inc. (ASCAP) CAN YOU imagine what it Judy Collins' Christmas CD would be like to grow up in "Come Rejoice" gives. us the Sarajevo? Few of us could. We touching ballad "Song for Samight wonder. how can the rajevo." This is not the type of dream of peace be brought to Christmas song that fills us with this city, this nation, this world? romantic images or warm feel-

ings. Ratlier, it describes a part of the world that needs a healing miracle as we pause to celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace. "Song for Sarajevo" was coauthored by the children of the city. These children speak of how they close their eyes and still "dream of peace." Their plea troubles our hearts: "Can't we live in peace, stop the flowing blood, make a blessed world where I can be a child?" As much as we may want to help stop the suffering in Sarajevo or other hurting places on our planet, none of us seems to know how to do this. From world leaders down to you and me, we witness the tragedy there and feel a sense of powerlessness. Yet, remembering the birth of Jesus provides us with the chance to rededicate our efforts to Jesus' vision of nonviolence and peace. We can welcome this Christmas into our lives by committing ourselves to do what we. can do. Whatever our age, there are ways we can work for peace. For example: I. Think about the presents you intend to buy this Christmas. Deduct a certain amount from what you would spend. Send the money to Catholic Relief Services (209 W. Fayette St., Baltimore MD 21201-3443) or to some other agency helping victims of war. Teil others of your decision to spend less in order to give to the children of Sarajevo. . 2. Ask your family if there could be a time this year when together you discuss what it means to follow the Prince of Peace. After this discussion, ask the: family to spend tim.e praying for the children arid people of Sarajevo. 3. During this season, reflect on what you can do to build peace in your immediate corner of the world. Come up with specific actions that can become your goals for 1995. Write down ways you can give time, effort and money to carry the message of Christmas into the rest of the year. Christmas celebrates the rebirth of hope in our lives and in our world. Hope is God's gift reaching out to all those who hurt in our human family. In the coming year, join the children of Saraj(~vo in their dream of peace.

Church giving seen declining CHAMPAIGN, ILL. (CNS)Christians continue to give less money to their churches, a new study says. In 1992 the average American spent three times as much on gambling as the average u.s. church member gave to church, it says. The study suggests that one of the big reasons for a decline in church giving is that Americans are spending even bigger chunks of their income on material comforts and luxuries. The study, "The State of Church Giving Through 1992," analyzes 25 years of giving trends in 29 Christian denominations with a combined membership of 30 million. It was released by EmptyTomb, a nonprofit Christian research and service organization in Champaign, and was funded by the Lilly Endowment. The Catholic Church was not analyzed, but several other studies have shown that the typical Catholic gives considerably less to the church than the typical Protestant and that Catholic rates of giving have been declining more rapidly than Protestant rates.



In him is life, and the life is the light of men The light shines on in darkness...

Card Carrying Christmas cards were first put on sale in Boston over a century ago by wallpaper designer Louis Prang. The practice' was already established in England, where engraved Christmas cards originated in London in 1842. Today, more than five billion cards bulge postal workers' bags each December. And those are the ones that are mailed on time!

The study also found that if Americans gave as much to their. church as on eating out, contributions would nearly double; and if they gave as much as they spend on amusements, crafts, toys, cosmetics, candy, soft drinks and other luxuries and leisure activities, contributions would more than quadruple.

We have'seen his" star, and are c~m~ to adore him

CSF to gi've funds

CELEBRATING 25 years of ECHO retreats for diocesan youth at a Mass at St. John the Evangelist Church, Attleboro, are, from left, Fathers Richard Chretien, William Baker, Richard Roy, Permanent Deacon John Welch, Msgr. George Coleman, Msgr. Daniel Hoye, Norwich, CT, Permanent Deacon Dennis Dolan, Fathers Richard Gendreau, John Gomes, George Harrison, Jay Maddock and Bruce Neylon. At the Mass tribute was paid to the late Father Thomas Mayhew, founder of ECHO in the Fall River diocese, and to Sisters Patricia Harrington a.nd Regina Brennan, who were ECHO directors for 25 years. r I"

1994 winners of Citizens Scholarship Foundation Awards will receive the second half of their scholarship funds 3 p.m. Dec. 27 at Mayor John Mitchell's office in the Fall River Government Center. Initial awards were given in June. Dr. Irving Fradkin, CSF founder, will invite recipients to describe their college experiences to date. Don Gillis, director of the Fall River Office of Economic Development, will speak on job opportunities in Fall River; school committeeman Bob Pearson on community servic:e; and Charles Petersen, regional director of the Bank of Boston, on the importance of education. The Fall River CSF chapter, one of 750 in the nation, has a warded nearly one million dollars to more than 2,000 students since its founding in 1958.


Who hath believed our report? There was in him no stately bearing A little child to guide them It was our infirmities he bore,

Our sufferings he endured. So shall he startle many nations



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P-ro~iife 'contest winners nallRed Chris Godfrey, president of ProLife Athletes, has selected winners in the Diocesan Pro-Life Apostolate's essay contest for youths, themed "Life, What a Beautiful Choice." In the Grades 7-9 category, first place winner is Meghan Montouri, Taunton Catholic Middle School, .and second is Richard

By Dr. James and Mary Kenny "The Holy Supper is kept, indeed, In whatso we sharre with another's need; Not what we give, bllt what we share For the gift without the giver is bare; Who gives himself with his alms feeds three, Himself, his hungerinll neighbor, and'me." James Russell Lowell: "The Vision of Sir Launfal" Why is it the custom to give gifts at Christmas? What does or should a gift mean? The gift is a representative of the self, a symbol of love. The gift should say to .the. receiver: I am giving you this token to let you know that you have the deeper claim on me of friendship and love. We give a gift at Christmas to remind the receiver that we plan to give of oUl;,selves all during the year. The gift is an external sign, something special to represent the love we fee~.a sacramental. Gift-giving should influence the givers as well, reminding us that as Christians,we intend to be, want to be, loving 'persons. The gilt symbolizes and celebrates this loving attitude that Christians naturally express toward one another. A gift at Christmastime should be a sign of our everyday attitude. Catherine de Hueck Doherty once defined a saint as "a person who does ordinary things in an extraordinary way." Not someone who works miracles, but someone who is loving and giving. .,. Whli't' 'are these' eve'fy'daY' ofdinary expressions of love that the Christmas gift celebrates? They are just that, ordinary. A smile. A touch. Listening. Saying something positive. Trusting enough to share

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Machnowski, Holy Family-Holy Name School, New Hedford. In the grades I0-12 category, Elizabeth Roma of Christ the King parish, Mashpee, is the first place winner and Donald Guenette of Bishop Stang High S(:hool, North Dartmouth, is second.



For, behold, Ibring you good tidings ofgreat joy..."


Lukl~ 2.'10

Warm holiday wishes to all.


Slades FerryBank

7 Convenient Locations:

ST. NICHOLAS, with "Little S1. Nick" Andrew King, distributes candy canes at St. Joseph's School, Fairhaven. our own thoughts and feelings. Two weeks ago I ran a long race. The crowd lining the streets was very supportive. Smiles. Waves. Applause. High fives. As St. Paul said, life is like a long race. Every one of us is both a runner and a bystander. We need to give and receive encouragement as we proceed, At Christmas we want to remember that our gift is only a sign of the love that we feel daily. As we give and receive presents;le't's renew' our intent to give smiles and compliments and positive encouragement; to give of ourselves. For as the poet says, "The gift without the giver is bare."

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• 100 Slaae's Ferry Ave" Some-rset • 2722 County St" N. Somerset • 2388 GAR Highway, Swan1:ea

• Swansea Mall, Swansea

He Has Given Us

• 249 finden St., Fall River"

"And when we give each other Christmas gifts in His name. let us remember that He has given us the sun and the moon and the stars. and the earth with its forests and mountains and oceans-and all that fives and moves upon them. He has given us all green things and everything that blossoms and bears fruit-all that- we quarrel 'about llnd all -that we' have nils:' used-and to save us from our ownfoofishness.from all our sins. He came to earth and gave us Himself. "-Sigrid Undset

·855 Brayton Ave., Fall River • 1400 Fall River Ave.

(Route 6) Seekonk, MA 675-2121 (all branches) 36-5991 (Seekonk branch)


Immaculate. Conception Church New Bedford Rev. Evaristo Tavares, pastor Rev. John A. Raposo • Rev. Daniel O. Reis

The three of us wish to all our parishioners 'a wonderful Christmas Season in the Lord Jesus. l~ Very Happy New Year full of the most choicest blesslngs .. J

MASSES will be celebrated: Vigil

5:00 English 7:00 Portuguese 12:00 Portuguese


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You, Bethlehem,Ephrathah, too small to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel . . . . . . . . . .'I:;: . . . . . . . .


Christmas Day

7:00 a.m. Portuguese 8:30 English 9:45 English 11:00 Portuguese 12:15



The'Anchor Friday, Dec. 23,1994

What kind


of house can )'ou build for me?

Merry Christmas

... . By Christopher Carstens "Whaja get?" When I was a kid, that was the main question on Christmas morning. We'd get together in the neighborhood, compare our various prizes, and then it was off to play with our new stuff until it broke -which was often before the end of the day. For little kids, the gift is Christmas. The better the present, the better the experience. If a kid is all wound up in Power Rangers, and under the tree he finds "The U niversal Set of All Green Power Ranger Stuff," that kid's Christmas is complete. Presents don't get any more perfect than that. When teens go shopping for their parents, they sometimes get stuck. You want to find exactly the right present, but there's nothing you can afford that comes even. close. Maybe it's the Power Ranger syndrome. You keep looking for something that will make your dad as excited as the Green Ranger makes your little brother. Unless you can buy your dad that brand new convertible he's had his eyes on, it's tough shopping ahead. But there's another way you can make Christmas special and memorable for your parents, even if you end up buying your dad another tie and your mom still one more bottle of perfume. Give the gift '01' your time at Christmas. It's the best gift you can give, and it won't cost you a dime. You see, as people get older the presents themselves become less important. Grownups hardly ever ask each other, "Whaja get?" because that isn't what matters. After Christmas, grownups ask each other questions like "Who was there?" and "What did you do together?" Giving the gift of your time can be as simple as accepting an invitation to do something together. A few years ago, my wife asked our daughter to go shopping with her for wrapping paper. Jessica agreed. It only took about an hour, but it was such fun that it became a regular Christmas tradition. Here are a few suggestions for ways you can give the gift of your time this Christmas. These days, most parents have to work at least part of the holiday season. Meet your parent for lunch at work one day while you're off school for Christmas. Go out to a movie with your mom or dad, jus't the two of you. After Christmas dinner, instead of rushing off to see your friends, hang around a while and talk with the family. If you are lucky enough to have grandparents with you for Christmas, see if you ca n get them started telling stories about Christmases when they were little. Listening to those stories is a golden gift only you can give. Presents are nice, but for grownups they aren't the center of Christmas. What matters most is the time you spend together. Give your parents the gift they will remember fondly, even years after you've grown up and moved away. Give the gift of your time.

SaJJivon's Est. 1962

Religious Articles Books • Gifts Church Supplies 428 Main St. • Hyannis. MA 02601


Mon.-Sat. 9-5

BISHOP STANG High School Christmas card design by Leah Makuch.


Montie Plumbing & Heating Co.

ml'(> :1 Gift ('.or'ifi("o'e For :1

Over 35 Years of Satisfied Service Reg. Master Plumber 7023 JOSEPH RAPOSA, JR. 432 JEFFERSON STREET Fall River 675-7496

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For Info Contact TIM & BARBARA HAYDEN TEL. 336-4381


ST. PEREGRINE FOR CANCER VICTIMS AND THEIR LOVED ONES Every Thursday • 9:30 A.M. ST. LOUIS CHtn!{CH 420 Bradford Avenue • Fall River

Schools spread Christmas spirit Freshman Leah Makuch of Fall River won Bishop Stang High School's sixth annual Arthur Christmas Card Competition. Her entry, a depiction of a Christmas ornament inscribed with the original poem "Hand in Hand," is printed on the North Dartmouth school's Christmas card, and she received a $50 prize. Other winners were Megan Lally, $25; Charles Schestak, $15; and Aaron McNamee, $10. The contest is sponsored by the Arthur family of Marion. Remember Why Several students at Coyle and Cassidy High School, Taunton, wrote letters on the true meaning ofChristmas. A submission from Phil Santos is representative of their sentiments: I think a lot of people forget the true meaning of Christmas. A lot of kids my age especially just think of Christmas as a time to receive presents. I guess it's OK to look forward to getting presents because that is part of the fun. Christmas to me should be spending quality time with your family and celebrating the birth of Christ. The reason I think Christmas has lost its meaning is because of our society. All you see on TV is Christmas sales and bargains. I don't think I remember seeing one commercial or anything about Christ or Christmas's true meaning. This Christmas please try to remember why you're getting all those presents and why you're

decorating your house. This year try to keep Christ in your Christmas.

"Good" Show The Taunton Catholic Middle School drama club presented "Good King Wenceslas" Dec. 16th. The school auditorium was transformed into the great hall of the castle of King Wenceslas, a 10th century king of Bohemia. Guests attending the performance entered the hall on Christmas Eve as the lords and ladies of the court were beginning their Christmas celebration and were seated at long banquet tables adorned with flickerin candles, evergreens, fruit and cheese. The cast entered to traditional medieval music as mulled cider was served. Robert O'Connell, playing the part of the friar, opened the play with a setting of the scene and John McLaughlin, as King Wenceslas, offered gifts to all the court upon his entrance. The most beautiful gift, a gold crown, was given by the king to his daughter. Princess Wences, played by JaimeRita Lyman. The king was saddened when he ·saw that his only daughter was behaving selfishly, and he set out to teach her that it is in giving that we truly receive. The celebration came to a close with all the cast wishing the audience a Merry Christmas in song. A Christmas sing-a-long had everyone singing for their supper before a medieval meal of stew, fowl and bread was served, followed by a dessert of turnovers and a "dish of snow."



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678-2828 OPEN MONDA Y THROUGH FRIDA Y • 10 A.M .• 4 P.M.






Our Lady of Mount Carmel' Parish Family

230 Bonney Street โ€ข New Bedford,Massachusetts (Very Rev.) Henry S. Arruda, v.F., Parish Priest Parochial Vicars:

(Rev.) Andre H. Faria . (Rev.) Jose M. Sousa

In Residence:

(Rev.) Antonino C. Tavares


Paul 1. Macedo, P.O.

., CJHllRJlยง7flMlAยง lMlAยงf/1Eยง Saturday, December 24th - 5:30 P.M. (English) MIDNIGHT MASS By The Most Reverend SEAN P. O'MALLEY, OFM, Cap. BISHOP of FALL RIVER (Television Mass - Portuguese Channel 20)

CHRISTMAS DAY (Sunday, December 25th) PORTUGUESE: 7:00 AM; 9:30 AM; ENGLISH: 8:15AM; 11:00AM;.

12:15 PM; and 5:30PM.

Feliz e Santo Natal'

* * * * Merry and Blessed Christmas